Random questions

Must of have been bored, because I saw these questions in another blog, and I decided to answer the questions.

1.  Twister or Monopoly?

Monopoly
2.  Which do you crave more?  The chips & salsa, or chocolate?
chips & salsa
3.  You’re sitting next to a friend(s) in a room.  You fart and it’s loud enough that you KNOW everyone heard it.  Do you acknowledge it or pretend it never happened?  (Okay, every situation is different….but you know yourself – in general, your reaction would be?)
I would definitely own up to it, probably make a joke about it.
4.  Pizza or Hamburger (yes, buffalo burger acceptable)?
Pizza
5.  If you could go back to one conversation to change or add to something you said, what would it be?
It would be an email conversation. I asked a friend to stop sending inappropriate jokes all the time, usually 5 or 6 a day. I should have asked him to just cut back the jokes and still be friends. Instead, we haven’t talked to in person or via email since than, which is a major bummer. I miss him a lot.
6.  Snow skiing or water skiing?
I have done neither, but I’d like to try skiing.
7.  What is the craziest thing you have done (or advice you listened to) to try to heal an injury faster?
Does not go to doctor count. In 1994, after I tore a hip flexor in the London Marathon, I didn’t get an MRI or anything remotely smart. I just took Motrim, tried to fix myself, and it cost me 14 years and over 150 pounds of weight gain, because I was “old school” and too tough to go to the doctor.
8.  Are you a cat person or a dog person?
Dogs!!!!
9.  Do you wipe front to back, or back to front?
back to front
10.  What’s your favorite Charity?
Food Bank of the Rockies
11.  Favorite rock/country/blues band of all time?
Absolutely love the Foo Fighters!
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Happy Birthday to me

It is my birthday today. I am forty five years old, and I have never felt better, physically and mentally. The last two years on the Runners Roost race team has really helped me socially. I don’t think that I am nearly an introverted as I was my first 43 years. Now, I actually like talking to people in a group function, and I might even getting better at socializing, too. Before I started running at Runners Roost in 2008, I was just down right scared of group socials or party situations. However, my favorite night of the week is the Runners Roost run club. I feel so good to included with such awesome people. My only wish is that I was fast enough to just run with them. Instead, I run by myself and live vicariously through them during the social as they talked about running and stuff. Anyways, I am extremely happy to see what my 45 will bring me. I am sure that it will be my best year so far.

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”
Henry Ford

I saw this on Courtney’s blog, and I thought it would be appropriate on my birthday.

Seven things about me:

  1. I was in the Air Force for 10 years. I traveled to Japan, Guam, England, France, and Spain, and I met my wife, Carol, who was in the Air Force, too, in England.
  2. My dreamed job would be in Vail. I’d open a store which would rent skis, sells running and hiking gear, and leads trail runs. Of course, there would be a lounge to eat, to drink coffee, and to socialize, too.
  3. I love dogs, and I can’t see myself without a Golden Retriever in my life.
  4. I can’t talk about work, but it is really boring anyways. It is analytical and computer related, so 99.999999% of the world’s population would find it an incredible snooze fest. Even I put myself to sleep when I talk about work, which is inside a secured facility, of course.
  5. On 4 September, 2007, I weighed 327 pounds. Now, I down to 320 pounds. I still want to lose about 40 more pounds.
  6. If I had one person to meet and hang out with for a day, it would be Dave Grohl. Hopefully, the rest of the Foo Fighters would be there, too. I absolutely love his music with the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Them Crooked Vultures, and Queens of the Stone Age.
  7. I was born Bret Kurtis Butler, and I changed my name to Bret Curt Stevens when my stepfather adopted me. I wished that never changed it, and I’d like to change it back. However, it seems to complicated to do it at 45 years old.
Posted in Birthday, Runners Roost, Weight | 3 Comments

2012 Goals

I have been a little down since the beginning of December, but I have decided to push through my December disappointments and set my 2012 goals. I had such clear goals for 2012, first triathlon, first 70.3 IRONMAN, and a sub 4 hour marathon, but since I’m not a 140.6 or a 70.3 IRONMAN in 2012, my goals are not so in the forefront. Nonetheless, I have some tangible, big goals for 2012, which will make this year very challenging.

Anyways, with my new found inspiration, I have fully embraced the following goals for 2012:

  • Sub 4:00 marathon at California International Marathon (current marathon PR is 4:28:15 at CIM)
  • Swim 100 X 100 yards on 1 Jan 2013
  • Sub 47 minutes sea level 10K at Beach to Beacon (current 10K PR is 49:37 the Bolder Boulder)
  • PR Boulder Peak and get up Old Stage Hill without stopping (current PR is 3:14:18)
  • Non running goal: Get my weight below 200 pounds by CIM (currently at 220 pounds).
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Goodbye my friend

Today, I lost a friend, and I am extremely bummed about my loss. He was always by my side, or rather on my wrist, and he was always there for me when I needed him. He usually accompanied me on my workouts, usually 5 to 13 times a week. He was a tireless worker, and he had an incredible memory for every detail, including remarkable accuracy for our locations. Sometimes, he chirped when I deviated from the coach’s planned heart rate. I swear that he would call coach Michelle and let her know about my workout transgressions.

However, the good times far outweighed the bad times. Man, the miles ran are surely in the thousands, and even though I was overcritical about my lack of speed, he never once laughed about my slow miles. The laps tracked in the pool would be mindbogglingly large, and I guaranteed my 310XT has memorized the bike route from Boulder to Ft Collins.  I will miss him, my good friend the Garmin 310XT. Fortunately, he can be replaced, but I was hoping to get his new big brother, the new 910XT. However, my Garmin’s mistimed demise is another 310XT’s lucky day. I just hope that the new Garmin is as reliable as my old friend, because he definitely was stalwart companion.

Of course, I will be buy the new Garmin 310XT at Runner’s Roost. Where else will buy my future, new best friend?

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2012 Runners Roost

I stand by what I said in December, 2010, “I am humbled in selected for the 2012 Runners Roost Race Team.” Geez, I am a 45 year old man recovering from 17 year stint as a unhealthy, food addicted couch potato, so being able to hang around some of the most positive, healthy athletes, even if it is only post run, is an incredible honor for me. 2011 was   incredible dream for me. Wearing the Saucony Vizi-Pro orange single really made me feel apart of a team. I hadn’t been apart of a team since 1994, so having over 90 teammates cheer me on during races rocked my world. To say the least, I am thrilled to be included on the 2012 Runners Roost roster.

Happy Holidays!

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2011 California International Marathon

On 4 December 2011, I ran the California International Marathon. I haven’t looked forward to anything  like this in a real long time, maybe the 2008 Denver Marathon. I am really cold weather running, because of my size, the cool temperatures keeps my body from overheating. Since CIM is a December race, I could most of the training in October and November, which allowed me to get some really excellent quality runs in marathon training.

Along with awesome weather to train in and race in, CIM is a point to point course with an overall downhill course profile. This sets up the race to be a very fast course. Many runners use CIM to achieve their Boston Marathon Qualifying time. While I am not realistically going to qualify for Boston, I really looked forward to running a fast time on a downhill course at sea level. However, even given perfect running conditions, good fall weather training, and a downhill, sea level course, anything can happen on race, especially in a marathon.

With the cards laid nicely for a good race at CIM, I started the rather reserved. I hung the 4 hour pace group for well over the way point. I talked to the two pace group leaders for a while at different times. The female pacer,  Karyn Hoffman, is a triathlete, and she had just done Ironman Cozumel at the week before the race. We talked a lot about Cozumel and triathlons in general. After a while, I got to talked to the other pacer, Bill Finkbeiner, who is a pretty ultramarathoner. We talked a lot about the Leadville 100 Trail Run. Both pacers were amazing to talk to about running, while is still maintaining strict pace control.

For most of the first 18 miles, Bill & Karyn were the only ones that I talked to during the race. I was pretty much living in my own world 15 minutes at a time. Every 15 minutes, I would drink for my bottle, which I carried the entire race. Every 45 minutes, I would eat Honey Stinger Waffles or  energy Chews. I was pretty much just on the eating clock.

However, around mile 17, I noticed my heart rate dropping, so my pacing was dropping, too. My heart rate had been in the 155 range for the most part, except on the hills where it would inch up to the range of 163. I tried to push my heart rate up and keep up my pace, too. I started to notice an extreme tightness through my hips, which I hadn’t really experienced this year. I’m at the most flexible runner in the world, especially through the quadriceps, lower back, and hip flexors, so it wasn’t a huge shock to me. However, this year, I have been feeling pretty good.

Along 18 and half miles, the wheels were completely off, and I pretty much slowed to a run/walk. I tried to stretched and to keep moving, but for about four miles, I was seemingly on a death march to the finish line. I didn’t want to relive my hip flexor injury from the 1994 London Marathon, so I kept moving and stretching it.

Around mile 22, I felt better and a little looser, so I tried to give running a good try. For the  most part, I ran fairly well. In miles 25 & 26, I was, as expected pretty sore and tired, so the running pretty forced and inconsistent. However, I wanted to finished strong with smile, so I enjoyed the last mile to the point I was cheer leading and trying to get crowd to cheer louder. It was a fun finish for me.

Even though, it wasn’t my perfect race, I still enjoyed it a lot. The time absolutely flew by, even when I was struggling. I know that I can run a marathon faster. I need to work on my calorie intake to ensure that I am getting enough calories. My flexibility through the mid section and upper legs needs to be improved, too. I can always use running technique improvements, too.

However, even the four mile struggle through 22, I managed almost 12 minute personal record for the marathon. I really can’t complain about a PR. California International Marathon is an awesome. Lots of runners and spectators made the race extremely fun for me. I’d like to do it again, and potentially run faster. However, I know anything can happen on race day. It usually does. All I can do is train consistently, strive to be better well rounded triathlete, and control things in my control. The rest will be what it will be. Live to run another day.

Finally, I must thank family, friends, and Runners Roost for their unbelievable support. I am extremely lucky to have so many fantastic people in my life. I truly couldn’t do anything without them. For sure, I couldn’t have set sevens running PR’s in 2011 without my coach, Michelle Ford. It has been a great year of learning and growing under Michelle’ tutelage. I’m looking forward to 2012. It is going to be an awesome year. Hopefully, I will be lucky enough to be selected for the Runner’s Roost Race team, too.

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2011 Denver Turkey Trot

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! It typical Stevens’ family tradition, we like to run on Thanksgiving. Last year, we ran the Mile High United Way’s Annual Turkey Trot in Wash Park, Denver, Colorado. Usually, I am a big races in small places, and the Denver Turkey Trot very much busting at the seams. However, it is fun to see a lot of my friends, including  a bunch of theRunners Roost Race Team. This year wasn’t any different. There was almost 7500 runners crammed into the relatively small Wash Park area and there was over 20 Roost runners. It is like one big happy family.

It is such a short race, arriving over two hours before the start would have seemed silly, the Stevens’ family likes to get to Wash Park and get a parking place. Plus, we get to see all of our friends before the masses show up, and it gets absolutely crazy. We went over to the Athlete’s Honey Milk tent to see our good friends, Denice, Eva,  Dave, Heather, and Karen.

Then, we made it over to the Runner’s Roost tent, where they are normally set up to give away something for the Turkey Trot runners. This is where we can see almost everyone. Also, we normally help set out the give away item. The tent, again, didn’t disappoint. We saw almost everyone that we hoped to see, but we miss everyone off at other races or visiting family for Thanksgiving.

Once, the Thanksgiving greetings were done and the race start approved, I started to get warmed up. Man, when I started to get ready, I wondered if I was going to run today. I just didn’t feel up to it. I started warming up with a couple of friends, but they were just running too fast. However, I let them go after realization that I need to do my own thing. I just backed off and went through my own routine. This put into my comfort zone and allowed me to focus on my own race. After my own warm up, I felt great, and I was ready to roll. Mental note Bret, always run your own race!

At the start, we crammed into coral number 1. Once the normal pre-race ceremony was completed, the blow horn went off and the insanity ensued. For first mile, I weaved through the masses with my friend Ted. We had fun checking out the costumes and getting the people to ring their cow bells. The first mile was a lot of fun. People were awesome in their turkey, pilgrim, Indian, and variety of other traditional costumes.  I ran the first mile in 7:51, which seem to just fly by.

After the first mile madness, I settled into a nice pace, while still enjoying the scenery. The park was filled with lots of dogs, who scared the all the normal park residents, the squirrels, into the trees. Since the weather was absolutely perfect, sunny and in the 60’s, a lot of runners had their dogs along for the 4 miles. I’d love to run with my Golden Retriever, but I don’t think my shoulder can handle Harley’s pulling for four miles. I ran the second mile in 8:12.

Going into mile three, I saw a bunch of my friends in the race. We exchanged our Happy Thanksgivings, and we took in the scenery together for a while. At that point in the race, we were really close to the 3 mile marker, because the course has us enter the park and loop back. This is where I saw another friend kicking butt at the head of the race, so I cheered for him. I am sure that I was responsible for him finishing in ninth place. 🙂 I, myself, rocked a 8:21 third mile.

The last mile, which I have run countless times on training runs, was set up nicely for a real nice finish. We start the mile down hill, so I get a nice head of steam as a curve at the bottom slingshots back towards the finish line. Some where in the last mile, I was running next to lady, who seemingly wanted to beat me. I really don’t care if someone beats me or not, but I did use her to keep flying towards the finish line. Unfortunately, she lost a little momentum as we headed up hill to the finish. I just continued into my finish line kick for a nice 8:02 forth mile.

I felt pretty good after the four mile Turkey Trot. I ran a 32:26 for nice personal record. Though it wasn’t a hard PR to break. I’ve only run two four mile races. One was when I was 100 pounds heavier, and the other was with my wife for a nice easy run. It hard to say that I could have better or faster. I don”t really care. I had an awesome, fun race, and hopefully, I will do this new annual tradition. I am extremely thankful to see all of my awesome, extended family. I wish that my mom and dad were closer, so we could enjoy my favorite holiday as a big family.

Runner’s Roost Race Team are coming in as fast as Geoffrey Mutai, so if you are really interested in the team, please apply by December 1st. As of the 24 November, 2011, the race committee already has twice the applications than last year’s selection pool. This year, it should be even more difficult for the selection committee.

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For the love of running and photography

Panicking Poultry 5K

On Wednesday night at the Runner’s Roost Run Club, I was volunteered for the Panicking Poultry 5K. I absolutely love to volunteer for races of various kinds. Without volunteers, races just couldn’t held. My friend said that I could take pictures for the race. I was like okay, but in my mind I was thinking don’t you want me to give Gatorade or water or take timing chips. I felt like I needed to suffer like most of the other volunteers. Geez, taking pictures of runners just seems too easy to me, even if it is really cold and windy.

Intensity

When I take pictures of runners, especially my mid size lens, I get to see their eyes. I see their intensity to complete their goals. Whether it is too finish their first 5K, to beat the person in front of them, or just to survive, the intensity is there. They don’t have to be the race leader or even on the podium. Almost everybody has the intensity to just do it. It is awesome! I love it.

 

Fun and Intensity

Even when they have the intensity, I also see the love of running through the lens, up close and personal. To even run 3.1 miles or 5 kilometers, there has to be some love, because there is always some pain from the exertion. Sometimes, the people are still just building their relationship with running, so it may be a love/hate relationship. However, the love is still there. To be out running a 5K in the wind and 30 degree temperatures, you must really love running. Through the camera lens, I can really see the love of running. It may be the famous runner’s high, but experienced runners really just love to be outdoors, sweating, and kicking butt. This kicking butt is pure relative thing. The runner could be in search of a new personal record, a podium bid, or just to lose a few pounds. The love of running is a purely beautiful thing.

Kicking butt and having fun!

Father & son on the run

To think that I volunteered to take pictures at the Panicking Poultry and I got a front seat view of the loving relationship. If I had been paid to take pictures at the race, I would have felt too guilty to take payment. There was much love out on the course. I saw runners hammering to win the race. There was a woman braving the wind and cold in a bikini, and that must true love for real! Parents and children were sharing the run, and they really seemed to like the time alone on the course with much love. What a concept. Whether I was taking pictures or handing out freezing water in the cold weather, it was an awesome reminder of my love of running and why I love to run. So what did I do after the race, I went for a run. I truly love running and sports photography.

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2012 Runners Roost Race Team Application

On 15 November, 2011, the 2012 Runners Roost Race Team Application went live. Who should apply, EVERYONE, but besides that, if you love to:

  1. run road races
  2. race the trails and ultra marathons
  3. compete in triathlons
  4. get complementary entries to your races
  5. receive free shoes, training gear, racing kits, and discounts to Runners Roost to buy the training supplies that you already buy any ways
  6. be a part of a tight knit running family, who cheers for you  regardless of abilities, speed, or trophies
  7. have access to up to 75 or so training partners, so you never have to train alone again
  8. look cool in the Vizi Pro Runner’s Roost Race Singlet.

If this sounds good to you, please, please, pretty please apply for the Runner’s Roost Race Team. It may sound silly for me to want you to apply, since my spot isn’t secured for the race team either. If 500 people apply, the selection pool will be huge, and the team will be all that much better. That is just how much I love running, triathlons, and the Runners Roost. I feel everyone deserves the opportunity to be a part of a team like Runner’s Roost and to receive the awesome race team benefits. I still want to be on the race team, but I would be happier if we were both on the team.

Adults just don’t get chances like this once we leave high school. On the team we can compete. We are sponsored and we are part of something so huge, like represent a store with 80 or so athletes. Not to mention, it does not cost anything to be apart of the team. It only costs you time doing the same stuff that you were going to do anyways. You were going to train any ways. You were going to race in races any ways. You were going to look for friends with interests in the being healthy, the outdoors, running, biking, and swimming anyways. To me, it is no brainer, so please why are you waiting, please here and apply!

You may think that you are too slow, too old, too big, or lack any podiums to be picked for the Runners Roost Race Team, I am the perfect example of why it isn’t always about speed, the skinny, your age, or victories. I am around 220 pounds, and I’m probably not going to be a model any time soon. I, typically, finish in the middle or back of the pack. If I finish on the podium, I was probably the only one in my age group or I was the only one to admit that he is Clydesdale (over 200 pounds) in a race. This January, I turn 45 years old, so I am not exactly a spring chicken, and my age group is one of the toughest in most races.

It is more about being a Runner’s Roost Ambassador anyways. Sure there are lots of speedsters on the team, but the team is composed of mostly well rounded athletes, like myself. We trained hard at running, biking, and swimming. We like the healthy life, and we like to be around runners, bikers, and swimmers. We show up at races to represent the Roost with positive attitudes. We embrace the entire community, the volunteers,  the race management, the spectators, and the fastest to the last racers. We are  one big family, so it is all about spreading the love by being Runner’s Roost Ambassadors. If you think can represent Runner’s Roost as an Ambassador, please apply. I can’t guarantee that you will get selected, but you will never know unless you hit the submit the application. You will not regret it, unless you don’t apply by 1 December, 2011. I just want to you know that you can do it, too.

If you want to read more about the team, please click the Runner’s Roost Race Team Link, or you can email me and I will answer any of your questions.

Posted in Race Team, Runners Roost, Running | 3 Comments

In a groove

Well, I must say things are going well. I’m a month from the California International Marathon. Training is going well. There are no bad days, good days nor great days, just training days. I’m just trying to be a consistent follower of training plan, and my body seems like the consistency. So far, so good, and I feel great. My runs have been amazing and almost surreal, but even my bike and swim workouts have really good, too. I have no aches or pains. I continue to utilize the Normatec MVP boots after long workouts and my massage therapist routinely. I try to eat fairly well, and I get plenty of sleep, too (lots of naps). Thank you Michelle Ford and happy birthday! You have laid out an awesome marathon plan. Thank you Runners Roost for the awesome gear, the terrific run clubs, and the amazing support.

On another subject, I have been reading the book, “What I Talk About When I Talk about running” by Haruki Marukami. If you like running, it is an awesome book. Haruki is a very descriptive writer, and he, some how, really makes his training for the New York City Marathon very interesting. I highly recommend it. His running memoir is definite must read for running addicts.

Posted in Marathon, Running | 1 Comment